University of Hertfordshire Karate

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University of Hertfordshire Karate

University of Hertfordshire Karate


Welcome to the website of the University of Hertfordshire Karate-do Shotokai (KDS) group.

Karate-Do Shotokai, or KDS as we more often refer to it, is a traditional karate style which focuses purely on the practice of karate as a martial art. Whilst we work to develop a range of effective techniques, we don’t just practise by rote. Instead, we train to build an awareness, both physical and mental, that lets us manage a situation decisively – without the distraction of competitions or commercialism.

Our sessions are open to men and women of all ages and abilities. We run a friendly, social club based within the University of Hertfordshire where questions are encouraged and everyone is allowed to get the very best out of themselves – all in the spirit of developing quality karate practitioners.

If you want to find out more get in touch with the club via the contact link above.

We also run a sister club which is open to non-students training at the Charles Morris Hall in Tyttenhanger Green on Wednesday nights at 8pm


About the Club

The Hertfordshire club has a long association with the University of Hertfordshire (This is In the days of Hatfield Poly! and the much loved Hutton Hall) and was started in 1991 by Gavin Rothwell (having trained in Southampton under the likes of Steve Hope and Tony Lima). He is now a 4th Dan having returned to Southampton). In 1993 Alistair Woodward took up the reins, instructing at the club until 2008 (sometimes in a secondary capacity – darn work commitments). In 1999 Julian Cox (2nd Dan, now resident in Philidelpia) took on the instruction for two years, with James Barry 1st Dan covering the period from 2004-5. The club is now run by the enthusiastic Phil Halsall with assistance from Steve Hearson, Alistair Woodward and James Barry.

The student club does accept external members with students forming the majority of the membership and taking an active role in liaising with the Athletics union and also organising the more social side of the club’s functions.

It is affiliated with the KDS and members are invited to attend week-end courses which are held at other venues all over the country (many situated in Universities – Oxford, Southampton, Keele and the like).



Hertfordshire Sports Village (cricket hall), De Havilland Campus
AL10 9EU


Charles Morris Hall
Tyttenhanger Green
St. Albans
AL4 0RN.

Training Details

Mondays: 9pm ~ 10.30pm at the University of Hertfordshire, Hertforshire Sports Village (HSV), De Havilland campus – Starting 4th of October. Practise in the cricket hall.

Wednesdays: 8pm ~ 9.30pm at the Charles Morris Hall in Tyttenhanger.

If you are in the vacinity of Stevenage, St.Albans, Watford, Park Street, London Colney, Welwyn Garden City WGC or Hatfield come and give us a try.

Chief Instructor

Steve Hearson, 3rd Dan


Alistair Woodward, 3rd Dan
James Barry, 2nd Dan
Philippe Halsall, 1st Dan



Why Practise Karate?

Past experience has shown that people take up karate for many different reasons. Interestingly, the number of people who join to learn self defence by no means represent the majority. Many people join to get fit, some join because it’s something different, and so on. Whatever the reason, those that persevere with the practise of karate invariably find it has much more to offer, both physically and mentally, than conventional sports.

Martial Arts: Fact and fiction

Martial arts, like karate, have received considerable attention in recent years, especially through films and television. Martial artists are portrayed as being capable of astounding feats of strength, endurance and super-human athleticism. The reality of the situation is, of course, totally different. Although of course people like Harada Sensei (our style’s principle), are enormously gifted, karate will always be within the realms of the possible, where myth has no place.

Why Karate-do Shotokai?

  • Suitable for men and women
  • No competitions
  • Safe, friendly environment
  • Qualified top-level instruction
  • Does not rely on strength

Do I have to be fit to practice?

Since Karate-do Shotokai emphasises mobility, coordination and balance with a relaxed body condition, this particular style of Karate can be practiced by anyone regardless of age, build or sex. However during the warm-up, practice can involve relatively strenuous activity. If there is any doubt about your ability to perform such exercise then the instructor can tailor the warm-up and set of practices to suit your needs. Generally a student who practices regularly will achieve an increased level of fitness at an acceptable pace.

Contact the University of Hertfordshire

University switchboard

tel +44 (0)1707 284000
+44 (0)1707 284115